Body neutrality is a term that has been gaining traction online for the past few months now. It is defined as “encouraging you to recognize its abilities and nonphysical characteristics over your appearance.”
Our bodies fail us every single day anyway. We get flu, and that is if you are lucky enough not to be born with a compromised immune system. Our cells get cancer, and when seasons change- we constantly have to deal with allergies. That will manifest physically, like with a rash on your body and face.
So all in all our bodies are not that great. That statement is not deprecating but rather a reality. Notice how body neutrality focuses on more than just the external part of our bodies, but rather our bodies as a whole.
This is particularly important for women; our bodies exist under a constant microscope. From the moment you grow up we are policed in our own homes by our mothers especially. Then you go out into the world where you are indoctrinated into prioritizing the male gaze. There is this everlasting pressure or need to look workable and desirable if not approval, then for survival, especially as a black woman.
It is all nonsense. The body positivity movement has taught or tried to teach us that we should love our bodies, no matter what. Whether you’re fat, skinny. If you have spots, wrinkles, and stretch marks, wait, Tiger stripes, as some people call them. And honestly that has always been nonsense too.
Especially when skinny people opted for the movement and tried to include themselves in it too. Knowing very well the reason there was a need for body positivity in the first place was because of the exclusion that plus-sized bodies faced. While skinny bodies were the standard. And have been since the beginning of time. Especially in the western world.
Now, in this day and age there are body trends. Certain body shapes, sizes and even parts become popular for a certain period. Until people get tired of seeing it everywhere on their Explorer page, on Instagram. Then the complaining starts, until a news shape or body type is in.
Body neutrality is so much better, purely because it takes into account the emotional side and mental toll it takes when you constantly have to deal with body image issues. Nobody is on a permanent high where it is possible to feel good about yourself all day. Every single-day. And nobody should be made to feel guilty about the days when they do not feel like celebrating their body.
The practical approach involved in exploring body positivity, means realizing that being satisfied with normal things your body does, like your skin keeping all your organs from falling out, your teeth staying in your gums and chewing your food to pieces , your eyes not failing you, your ears hearing the things you need to hear and your legs getting you from point A to point B every single day- is enough.
There is so much more to do and focus on in the world. People could be picking up new hobbies, reading new books or simply living. Actually living our lives instead of being bombarded with thoughts on what our feelings should be about how our bodies look.
Honestly your body is just there. On some days you will like it and there are days when you will not. It is what it is.